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Portugal See And Do

Art Deco

For fans of clean lines and jazzy typefaces, Porto is an Art Deco delight. The style caught on here in a big way from the 1920s onwards, and the city is full of Deco touches—on storefronts, private houses, garages, factories, and movie theaters. Most of these buildings are unrestored, however, and many architectural jewels have sunk into ugly disrepair. Cunhas is a department store ("Novelties, We Sell Cheaper" is its motto) with a huge peacock on its lovely 1930s front (14 Praça Gomes Teixeira; 351-222-001-516; open 9 a.m.–7 p.m. Mon–Fri, 9 a.m.–1 p.m. Sat). The private garden of the Casa de Serralves, a classic example of 1930s bourgeois architecture, is a rare example of an Art Deco landscape. The 1940s Coliseu, a theater, is at least well restored (137 Rua Passos Manuel; 351-223-394-940;, but the garage opposite, which has been converted into a gallery, restaurant, and the bohemian nightclub Maus Hábitos, is in a sad state (178 Rua Passos Manuel; 351-222-087-268;; open 10 p.m.–2 a.m. Wed, Thurs, Sun, 10 p.m.–4 a.m. Fri–Sat). Were this Miami, you'd find it listed in tourist brochures and/or converted into a boutique hotel.

Beach Trips

Madeira has over 90 miles of coastline, but it doesn't have a beach. A day of lazing around on the sands involves a two and a half hour catamaran trip (schedules available at or a 20-minute flight (schedules available at to the neighboring island of Porto Santo. Either option is worth it, thanks to one of Europe's best beaches—five miles of almost untouched sand —and a house where Columbus once lived.


This western waterfront neighborhood beckons with its many examples of the exclusively Portuguese Manueline style of late Gothic architecture. Museums abound, and the planetarium is a kid-favorite, but the star of the neighborhood is the Manueline church and cloisters, the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (1400 Praça do Império; 351-21-362-0034;

Big Game Fishing

Captain Peter Bristow will assist your search of giant blue marlin aboard the Katherine B for about $1,200 per day for the whole boat—round up half a dozen people, and the trip can be a bargain (291 752 685 or 917 599 990;;

Fado Music

The melancholic (well, tragic), soulful acoustic songs belted out late at night in smoky clubs are welded to the culture of Portugal, but the real deal can be hard for mere visitors to access. The Bairro Alto and Alfama are the best neighborhoods for fado venues. There's no shortage of places to hear the music, but the very best clubs are hidden away in dives and after-hours restaurants—in fact, the whole culture is after-hours, and you'll have to stay out till dawn to catch the true spirit. One to try is the longstanding Parreirinha de Alfama (1 Beco do Espìrito Santo; 351-21-886-8209). If you're lucky, you'll happen on one of the new-wave fadistas who are bringing the gypsy-Afro-European genre to a new, younger audience; the 30-year-old Mariza, with her dramatic formfitting black gowns and platinum-blond cornrows, is the best-known of them all.

Mercado do Bolhso
Rua Fernandes Tomás
Tel: 351 223 326 024

Situated east of Avenida dos Aliados, this main market is a don't-miss experience. Screeching, cheerful ladies offer everything from seafood to herbs and honey; mornings are best.

Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays.

Monte Tobogganing

The breezy hilltop suburb of Monte includes a church where Charles I, last of the Hapsburg emperors, is buried. But the real attraction are rides on the world-famous carro de cesto street toboggans. A pair of white-suited, skilled drivers will push and steer your wicker sled through the streets and down three miles of steep, winding roads back to Funchal. The cost is about $12; contact Carreiros do Monte, Sitio da Igreja (291 783 919).

Hotel Photo
24 Rua Augusta
Portugal 1100 053
Tel: 351 21 888 6117

Lisbon's Design and Fashion Museum caused quite a splash when it moved from the Belém Cultural Center to its new premises in a former bank headquarters on the pedestrian Rua Augusta in Baixa in 2009. The raw space, known by its acronym MUDE (which means "change" in Portuguese), is an effective backdrop for the 1,000 design objects, including work by iconic figures such as Philippe Starck, Charles Eames, and Arne Jacobsen. Over 1,200 items of haute couture include the Jean Dessès gown Renée Zellweger wore to the 2001 Oscars, as well as work by fashion heavyweights Jean Paul Gaultier, Balenciaga, Vivienne Westwood, and Yves Saint Laurent. You'll find the permanent exhibit downstairs and temporary shows on the second floor, such as the Signed by Tenente, a creative curation of the space by Portugal's famed fashion designer José António Tenente. And to top it off, museum entry is free of charge.—Anja Mutić

Open Tuesdays through Thursdays 10 am to 8 pm, Fridays and Saturdays 10 am to 10 pm, and Sundays 10 am to 8 pm.

Museu Calouste Gulbenkian
45A Avenida de Berna
Portugal 1067-001
Tel: 351 21 782 3000

Guggenheim-level collector Gulbenkian amassed treasures dating from 2000 B.C. to the early 20th century: See an Egyptian scarab as well as other examples of Egyptian art; Islamic art from 17th-century Persia; medieval illuminated manuscripts; Italian majolica; Rubens, Rembrandts, Gainsboroughs, and Manets—and a fabulous collection of Lalique jewelry.

Open Tuesdays through Sundays 10 am to 5:45 pm.

Museu de Arte Contemporanea de Serralves
210 Rua Dom João de Castro
Lordelo de Ouro
Portugal 4150-417
Tel: 351 226 156 500

The most successful of the city's stabs at contemporary cultural relevance is the Museu Serralves, a cultural center at the heart of a glorious garden just outside downtown. Since its inauguration eight years ago, the Serralves has become Porto's greatest attraction and probably the most influential modern art museum in Portugal. It's a theme park of modern art, with a permanent collection covering creative output on an international scale from the 1960s to today, with site-specific work by Dan Graham, Richard Serra, and Claes Oldenburg (a giant trowel stuck into the ground) dotted around the grounds. In 2006, the garden was restored to its original, 1932 octagonal design by J. Gréber.

Open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays April through September; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays October through March. Closed Mondays.

Port Wine Tasting

Across the river, in the southern suburb of Vila Nova de Gaia, more than a dozen port-wine lodges are open for tours and tastings (most of them daily, except Sunday). For details and addresses, visit the Web site of the Instituto dos Vinhos do Duoro e Porto at and click on "Historical Center" in the "Visit the Region" section.

Alternatively, you can visit the IVDP's wine-tasting and sales center, the Solar do Vinho do Porto, which occupies an old mansion high above the river near the Palácio de Cristal. At the Solar's tasting bar, you can peruse a huge port list and sip your selections on a terrace overlooking a shady garden with box hedges and fountains—a fine place for an evening drink (220 Rua de Entre-Quintas; 351-226-094-749; closed Sundays).

Sé Catedral
Terreiro da Sé

Portugal 4050-573
Tel: 351 222 059 028

The formidable cathedral dominating central Porto is worth a visit for its ornate interior and its mixture of architectural styles. Despite attempts to "beautify" it in the 18th century, the cathedral retains the hard, simple lines of its Romanesque origins—though it's really more impressive from a distance than close up.

Open 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily in the summer (until 6 p.m. in the winter), except during masses, held at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.

Sunset Cruises Aboard the Santa Maria

A full-scale mahogany replica of Columbus' ship, the Santa Maria sails on Wednesday and Sunday evenings at 7:15 p.m. from Funchal harbor. The 90-minute trip takes you around the coast of Madeira. Contact Marina do Funchal (291/220-327 or 291/225-695).

Torre Dos Clérigos
Rua S. Felipe de Nery
Portugal 4050-546
Tel: 351 222 001 729

For Porto's best panorama, climb the 250-foot-high Baroque Torre dos Clérigos. The views from the top encompass the entire city as well as Vila Nova de Gaia, located across the river to the south.

Open 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily.


One of Europe's most exhilarating forms of public transportation, the Porto tramway formerly plied a network of routes across the city but now runs only between Ribeira and along the river to Passeio Alegre, in the old town of Foz, and from the Tram Museum (51 Alameda Basílio Teles; 351-226-158-185; to Carmo. An extension of the latter—to the city center—is scheduled to open in September 2007. A tribute to the industrial excellence of an earlier age, these splendid machines (some dating from the late 1930s) not only remain in constant use by an appreciative public but have maintained most of their original fittings. The interiors are wood-paneled, with leather-covered seats and armrests. Blinds can be pulled down when the sun gets too strong, and a cord runs along the roof, connecting to a clapper and bell above the driver's head. The driver busies himself at the controls (they read "power" and "brake," in English) and gets irritated when cars and pedestrians obstruct the tracks (which is often). The car groans and creaks along the track, making its way at a moderate pace under the soaring new Arrábida bridge, and out toward Foz and the seaside.


The tourist office in Funchal lists levada walks on narrow paths alongside the narrow irrigation canals that flow horizontally around the island's hills. Particularly scenic are those from the village of Ribeiro Frio. Most can be reached by bus.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.